Creating a framework for eLearning design

Another task for the ICTs for Learning Design course. This one is described as

Create a framework using both in combination that you believe will support excellent eLearning design. It is useful to consider Learning Engagement Theory as setting the valued learning context for your learners. And to consider Bloom’s Taxonomy as ensuring that you move your students though a learning design that will support every phase, from knowledge and comprehension to evaluation and synthesis.

Concerns

Being the type of person I am (generally described as “pain in the arse”), I have some concerns or questions about this task, they include

  • Design is hard and we’re starting with it.
    For me design involves a combination of the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (it’s a framework we’re using here, I’ll use the revised version) analysing, evaluating and creating. Arguably it’s a combination of all, but in this case we’re thinking about a design framework to support eLearning design which means no real application. Which makes it even more difficult, we’re up a meta level. We’re not talking about design, we’re talking about thinking about how we will design. This is higher level thinking, I’m not sure we’re all that prepared for this.

    I would have thought being shown a few more examples of completed learning designs in combination with their espoused design frameworks and being asked to understand and reflect upon those would be a useful first step. There’s been a little of this, but we haven’t yet really seen learning designs and their espoused design frameworks. Some of the questions being asked by other students in the forums seem to be evidence of this.

  • TPACK – limited T, limited P and a bit more C, and little PC, TC or TP.
    TPACK is another framework we’re introduced to this week and it offers another interesting perspective on asking us to perform this higher level task. The TPACK authors suggest that good learning design arises from the interplay of really good knowledge about technology, pedagogy and content. As student teachers in the first 2 weeks of study, most of us have fairly limited knowledge in most of these areas. It would appear not to be a great foundation on which to build thinking about eLearning design. Learning by doing?
  • The missing instructional design theory/framework.
    We’re being asked to work with only two frameworks, which don’t necessarily appear to provide complete coverage for all sets of learning design. Learning engagement theory describes a particular model for a learning process/design: Relate, Create, Donate. Bloom’s taxonomy defines a set of cognitive levels we might want students to achieve while going through the learning process. But neither offer any guidance about how to design learning, i.e. it’s missing an instructional design theory/framework.
  • What are we designing?
    Are we designing an activity like the Mobile phone wiki, a complete lesson, a complete course/unit? It’s possible that these frameworks could be applied at each of these levels, however, if I were working a complete course level, I’d probably be looking for some diversity, some additional frameworks/approaches.

In the end the assessment is set. We have to do it. So, it’s time to work around those concerns and or get answers.

The Framework

The framework I’ll suggest using combines constructive alignment (how to design), Bloom’s taxonomy (learning outcomes) and Learning engagement theory (a conceptual framework for technology-based learning and teaching). After reflection, I would further add the connectivist paradigm and Chickering and Gamson’s 7 principles as frameworks/theories that are likely to influence my design.

The process goes something like this, influenced by a simplistic flavour of constructive alignment

  1. Identify the learning outcomes.
    The assumption is that there are a priori goals or outcomes that this learning design is meant to achieve. Make these explicit. Use Bloom’s taxonomy to state them, the RadioJames Objectives Builder might help here.
  2. Identify how students are going to demonstrate they have achieved these outcomes and how they will be measured..
    A reliance on both learning engagement theory and Bloom’s helps there.
  3. Arrange activities that require students to develop and practice the outcomes.
    Largely learning engagement theory as the basis for the overall learning process, but then using the learning outcomes as a guide to implement specific experiences along the way (e.g. the mobile phone wiki). Additional insights needed in addressing some of the difficulties known about learning engagement theory. e.g. encouraging effective student collaboration and definition of project.

At least for me, underpinning all of this is a connectivist perspective to how I will operate. The ideas that I see or have archived from my PLN will influence some of the ideas about particular activities and technologies. i.e. there will be a tendency to borrow and adapt ideas I see modelled by others. It is also likely that my design of activities in the above would be influenced by that perspective.

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